You might want to sit down for this story. On today's America Live, Trace Gallagher shared a shocking headline out of Houston, Texas where a fourth grade teacher forced her students to become pen pals with a man accused of molesting children ... and all without their parents' knowledge or consent.

The pen pal is Ricky Ray Rowlett, a man accused then convicted of raping a girl under the age of 14. Rowlett was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the crime.

The teacher at Houston's Trinity Lutheran, however, is a family friend of Rowlett who believed he was wrongly accused. As a part of a class project, the teacher required students to share info with the inmate like their full names, description of

their appearance, and their favorite things to do. The assignment only came to light when investigators happened to find the letters in Rowlett's cell. The school's administration was quickly notified, and fired the teacher immediately. The Trinity Lutheran principal was also placed on paid leave.

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  • Parents of the students are rightfully livid, however, and say the assignment should have never happened.

    "I have two little boys who are now very aware of how horrible adults can be. I hope that that awareness comes out and that parents just look deeper into what's going on and not blindly trusting that just because it's an administration or it's a church that these people are protecting you or your kids," said one unidentified mom.